I shared this infographic from Inc. Magazine and writer Aaron Orendorff (@iconiContent) that garnered way more discussion than I thought it would. I shared it because poor communication in professional email is a bit of a pet peeve of mine. I work in a corporate environment where email thrives and seems to be useless a large percentage of the time. Based on the comments from Facebook and Twitter, other people are frustrated with email too.
If I could do just one thing to clean up my day and make work more effective it would probably involve email. I already ignore email for periods of time and do not get pop-up notifications or “dings” from my phone. The amount and style of emails frustrate me a lot. Email is a part of life and work but it doesn’t have to be miserable. Just a few short improvements can make a big difference for you and those you work with. It doesn’t just happen in email either, it seems communication as a whole has gotten worse.
Communication has become much easier and more efficient than it used to be. Emails are only the tip of the iceberg. Social media, text messages, and instant messages have further exasperated the problem. Just because communication is more efficient doesn’t mean it is more effective! I would much rather have a slower response and a more effective message than a poor, speedy message. Maybe I am old fashioned, but punctuation and word usage go a long way to a good message. I’ll admit that I am not a professional writer but from what I read most people barely think about what they are saying or writing. Some forethought and proof-reading would benefit a lot of the emailers I read weekly.
Here are 4 things I try to do when sending emails. Maybe they can benefit you or maybe you know of some others that would help me. Leave a comment and share your thoughts.
- Give the good stuff up front. Put the main point at the top of the email instead of buried down in a paragraph. This will help you when emailing busy people or high Ds (DISC Profiles) because they won’t spend the time looking for the one thing they need to do.
- Proofread. This one seems easy, but even I skip it sometimes. Most email doesn’t need to be sent to an editor, but at least read it yourself before hitting the Send button.
- CC rarely. Carbon Copy on emails is great when it is needed. But mostly, it’s not needed.
- Don’t email. Seriously, a phone call, or even a voicemail, may be better than an email. Take a few seconds to think about the best mode of communication before you send off that email.
Infographic from Inc. and Aaron Orendorff: